Across the cornfields, and communities of Iowa an exercise in Democracy took place yesterday as thousands upon thousands of Iowans congregated in halls and other public venues to make their choices known for who could very well become the next President of the United States.
It was a day of surprises! To the consternation of pollsters and talking heads Iowans made up their own minds and surprised us all.
On the Democratic Party side of the aisle, neither candidate can really declare victory as the contest ended in a virtual tie. Hillary Clinton received 49.8 percent of the vote and Bernie Sanders received 49. 6 percent. Each candidate earned the same amount of delegates. The winner is actually the Democratic Party and the voters as the outcome guarantees that the issues that mean so much to each candidate and to the voters will continue to be discussed and debated.
For political junkies like myself it means that we have a contest, a real race for the nomination. The election illustrated the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Bernie did really well among voters under the age of 40, while Hillary did best with voters older than 40.
On the Republican side of the ledger, the results were quite surprising as the heavy favorite, Donald Trump lost to Ted Cruz. Trump barely finished in second place as the real surprise of the day, Marco Rubio finished close on Trump’s heels.
Cruz was well organized and was the favorite among Evangelical Christians in Iowa. His people got his supporters to the caucus’s.
The results proved that Trump is not unbeatable. His aura of inevitability took a major hit last night. One large question emerged from his campaign last night; does Donald Trump have the field organization to get his voters to the polls? Elections are won and lost by not only who gives the best speeches or gets the biggest crowds, winners are still determined by who is well organized to get their voters to the caucus or to the polls.
The winner of the Republican caucus did not crack 30% of the vote. The three leading vote candidates received 28%, 24 and 23% of the vote. Cruz receives 8 delegates, Trump and Rubio, 7 each with Carson receiving 3 and Bush and Paul receiving 1 each. If this caucus is illustrative of what will follow in forthcoming primaries and caucuses it is hard to see any of them getting the needed 50% required to become the party nominee.
Iowans have sent a message to the rest of country and that is that the Republican Party has a long ways to go to determine who will win their party’s nomination.
As more candidates drop out of the race we may gain a clearer picture of who will be the Republican nominee.
On to New Hampshire next week as the race to the White House continues. We may have more surprises in store for us as the outcome of yesterday may change the results of the polling. The voters of New Hampshire will have their voices heard.